Filling the Skills Gap – Why Engineering Apprenticeships are a Great Career Choice for Women
Despite living in what could be considered the most advanced time in human history. There is still a certain stigma surrounding a variety of different job roles. Even though engineering offers a challenging, satisfying career option. Many women aren’t aware of the need for newly qualified engineers. Intelligent and capable women miss out on joining a fascinating and exciting industry due to this perception. We want to smash that concept! And show just how empowering, and rewarding being a female engineer can be!
From school onward, STEM subjects are traditionally more popular with boys than girls. This can lead to an imbalance in the workplace. It has been said before that if every male in engineering had a female contemporary, the sector’s skills crisis would be solved in an instant. With women accounting for only 10 percent of the workforce, such a statement may well have some merit. It’s a shocking statistic. But one that many experts claim will never be re-balanced unless STEM careers are first made more attractive to women considering them.
New campaigns, however, are successfully targeting women. Ensuring they are aware of the options available to them in the engineering industry which are ideal for problem-solvers of any gender. The increased awareness of the industry is leading to a rise in the number of female engineers.
The result of this is that the engineering sector is facing up to massive changes to its cultures and policies on workforce diversity.
Women are currently seriously underrepresented in engineering firms. This needs to be addressed quickly. Not least as it could go a long way to plugging the skills gap.
Stimulating and supporting greater interest from female students at schools or colleges is the long game. The urgency of the situation requires robust changes to improve diversity of opportunity with immediate effect.
This does not, however, mean that employers are starting to favour women applicants. It is more about gender neutrality. Making jobs and promotions equally accessible to everyone.
Karen Thomas, UK head of HR at Airbus Defence and Space, has been quoted in the media saying: “It’s important that women who do well in the workplace are not seen as doing well because they’re women — but rather because they’re very capable people who can do the job.”
Creating gender neutrality in engineering may include, for example, offering flexible working for all staff and supporting both male and female employees who need to take career breaks for family reasons.
With some more traditional “old school” employers. It means uncovering and addressing deep-seated and unconscious attitudes, and working practices that differentiate between genders.
However, the exciting work underway to create a more inclusive workforce in engineering doesn’t end there.
The Royal Academy of Engineering has launched a Diversity and Inclusion Programme (D&IP) and a strategy that covers 2015-2020.
It includes robust measures and activities that will ensure engineering is a career that can increasingly embrace and assimilate greater equality across the board. This will include inspiring, attracting and holding on to applicants completely independent of their gender, sexuality, ethnicity, age or disability.
How Can Women Take Advantage?
With the UK government pushing for more women in engineering to help with the shortfall in qualified engineers. There is increasing interest in the field.
It’s something that lots of employers are thinking about. For most know that unless the number of apprentices and university students can be increased, UK firms will rapidly be overtaken by industrial powerhouses overseas. With China and India alone capable of outputting hundreds of thousands of new engineers every year.
Undoubtedly, this is opening doors for young women. Rightly so. Encouraging both schools and the industry itself to promote STEM subjects and careers as options not just for boys, but for any young person with the necessary aptitude and interest. It is helping to bring down many of the traditional barriers to diversity.
But more must be done. For the benefit of both the industry itself and talented young ladies everywhere. Inspirational figures such as Caroline Gumble, Chief Operating Officer at the EEF, are making it their mission to do just that. By showing anyone who doubts it how important girls can be to the engineering sector.
As Caroline views it: “It is our responsibility, as the manufacturing leaders of today, to pave the way for tomorrow’s innovators and to show the competitive advantage that diversity delivers.”
She and her contemporaries are doing exactly that. Proving by example just how skilled women can be at performing engineering roles. It is her belief that the very best new players are the ones who now need bringing to the fore. Male and female alike. For the benefit of the entire industry.
Time to Seize Your Chance
This makes it a crucial time to embark on a career in engineering, riding on the crest of all these new measures. Career and promotion opportunities are widening up.
If you sign up for an engineering apprenticeship with TTE Training. The new level playing field will put your career goals a great deal closer.
What Skills Are Required to Become an Engineer?
Good Maths Skills
Although you won’t be required to be a genius when it comes to numbers. Making calculations is usually part of the day to day life of an engineer. It will also play a large role when it comes to your qualifications. Whether you embark on a full time engineering degree, or you decide to combine an engineering apprenticeship with study.
Strong Interest in the Physical World
Do you find yourself asking questions about how satellites got into space. Or how buildings manage to stay upright? Do you regularly think about how gadgets such as smartphones actually work? If you have a natural interest in the physical world and enjoy studying physics. You may already have the motivation required to become an engineer.
An engineer will always find themselves solving a problem. So if you enjoy troubleshooting issues, possibly technological ones, then you may have a natural aptitude to help you with what an engineer faces most days.
Excellent Communication Skills
Although you will see communication skills listed as a desired skill on most job adverts. With engineers it’s absolutely essential. It’s worth bearing in mind that very few engineers work on their own. So that means you’ll need to interact with them as well as other colleagues to get the job done. You may also find that you will need to talk to suppliers and clients regularly. So, do you have experience of working well in a team? Can you communicate your thoughts clearly both verbally and in writing? If so then engineering could well be for you.
Why Should You Choose Engineering as a Career?
Thousands of Options
When people think engineer, they usually have a pre-conceived idea of what form of work it entails. In fact, engineering is an incredibly wide-reaching and diverse career choice. Spanning anything from helping to design spaceships. To developing new types of green energy, and anything in-between. When you choose engineering. You choose a career path that has thousands of different options that you can choose from and move between.
A Workplace That’s Never Boring
Engineering entails a vast range of different job elements. From office-based work through to getting your hands dirty on-site. As such, every day is different and poses new challenges and ways to prove yourself in the industry. Allowing you to choose your path and gain new accomplishments as you continue to develop new techniques, strategies and methods of working that will impact your chosen industry in significant ways.
Earn What You Deliver
In comparison to many jobs, working in engineering can not only offer a fantastic career. But it can also provide the opportunity for significant pay in direct relation to your experience and qualifications. According to Reed.co.uk. The average salary of an Engineer is above £40k per year across a variety of industries. With those specialising in Chemical Engineering and Avionics earning far beyond that. Engineering is one of the only sectors where your essential work directly reflects your earnings. For both men and women.
Is an Engineering Apprenticeship Right for You?
As engineering often requires a hands-on, practical approach. An apprenticeship can be the ideal way to qualify. In addition to learning about theoretical methodologies, apprentices benefit from learning practical skills too.
Often, apprentices are given the opportunity to work in the industry whilst studying. This adds to the practical skills taught during your apprenticeship. And allows you to gain a real insight into the day-to-day work involved in engineering.
Specialising in Your Chosen Career
Whilst every engineer needs a base knowledge. There are many different types of engineering and you may choose to specialise in a certain area. When undertaking an engineering apprenticeship, you’ll be able to focus on sectors. Such as electrical engineering, process engineering and instrumentation engineering.
By specialising in a niche area, you’ll be able to develop your skills further and ensure you are well-equipped to enter the workplace following your apprenticeship in engineering.
Is it too Late to Start Training to be an Engineer?
Many people assume that you must start an apprenticeship as soon as you leave school. But this isn’t the case at all. Most apprenticeships in engineering are available to people aged between 16-23. So you may still have plenty of time to begin training.
Often, companies value existing work experience. So older trainees may even benefit by bringing their existing skills and expertise into the engineering field.
If you’re interested in a career in engineering, or if you might consider apprenticeships in North West England or North Wales, why not get in touch with us today?‹ Back to News